Our Changing World for Thursday 19 July 2007
On This Programme
Huntington's disease is a fatal brain disorder caused by a single genetic mutation, which results in major disruption of normal movement, memory, thought processes and emotions. A research team at Australia's Howard Florey Institute, lead by Anthony Hannan, has found that a stimulating environment can significantly delay the onset and progression of the disease, at least in mice with the same gene defect.
Based on that discovery, the team is now testing a combination of environmental stimuli and drugs in the hope of developing a treatment for the condition.
The much-discussed "man drought" in New Zealand may have some basis in statistical fact. A recent population estimate and projection released by Statistics New Zealand suggests that yes, it may be harder for women to meet partners of the opposite sex because of an imbalance in gender numbers, but in some age groups and areas, it's even harder for men. The figures inside the estimate are based upon the most recent census, and make for interesting reading with their implications for our future social makeup, but they also ask an important question - where have all the men gone? Justin Gregory met up with statistician Denise McGregor and social researcher Paul Callister to talk about man droughts, babe bonanzas and other demographic mysteries. But first, he takes the pulse of the street and asks women whether there really is a man drought.
'Polyculture' is a new type of aquaculture being trialed by a group of Maori land owners at Hongoeka Bay, in partnership with researchers from NIWA. It brings together multiple economically valuable species in a single, simplified 'ecosystem' to make the aquaculture project more sustainable. At Hongoeka, they are using karengo (an edible seaweed) to clean the waste water from paua raised in tanks. Dacia Herbulock went to see the project's launch.
Tony Kettle is part of the Free Radical Research Group at the University of Otago Christchurch. He is investigating how white blood cells kill bacteria by creating a form of chlorine bleach inside our bodies.